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How to Charge Your Electric Car if You Don’t Have a Driveway

Are you considering buying an electric car, van, or moped? If you have your own driveway, it’s easy to charge your EV — but what happens if you don’t? How do you charge your EV if you don’t have a driveway?

We all know that electric vehicles are greener, cleaner, and quieter than vehicles with traditional combustion engines. And electric is an excellent choice if you can park your vehicle within your home's boundaries. 

But what about people who can't park their cars within the boundary of their homes? Is it practical to trail a wire across the pavement?

This article explores how to charge your electric vehicle when you don't have a driveway. We'll examine your legal obligations and suggest ways to ensure you can charge your vehicle safely. 


How much does it cost to charge an electric car at home?

First things first: when electricity prices have skyrocketed, is it still more economical to charge an electric car than to fill it with petrol or diesel?

You can use a simple formula to calculate how much it will cost to charge your electric car. 

You'll need to know two things:

  • Your current electricity tariff (and if there’s a cheap overnight rate)
  • Your battery’s size or capacity

How to calculate EV charging costs — the formula

The average battery capacity of an EV in the UK is approximately 40kWh, although some vehicles have up to 100kWh batteries. Check your vehicle’s manual for confirmation. 

Let’s assume you have a 40kWh battery. 

The current average cost (at the time of writing) per kWh for domestic electricity in the UK is expected to be 34p per kWh by the end of 2022.  

Now we have everything we need: simply multiply the battery capacity by the cost per kWh:

I.e., 40(kWh) x 0.34(per kWh) = £13.60

So, it's currently considerably cheaper to charge an EV than to fill a petrol tank, which can cost up to £100, according to The RAC.

Can you charge an electric car across a pavement?

To the nitty gritty: can you legally trail a power cable from your house to your car if you’re parking on the street?

Firstly, check your local government website. Do a quick Google search if you’re not sure — the domain name for your local council is usually “gov.uk”. For example, “Sittingbourne council” brings swale.gov.uk as the first option on Google. 

Once on your local council website, find the search bar and enter: 

“Can I trail an electric cable across the pavement?” or “Can I charge my electric vehicle in the street?”. 

The EV strategy should appear. 

The general rule about charging your car on the street

Usually, charging your EV on a public road is permitted as long as you don't obstruct the footway or any access areas. It's your responsibility to ensure that you aren't creating trip hazards or a nuisance to the public. 

Park as close to your home as possible — the maximum distance is usually 10 metres away from your entrance. Trailing a cable across the road isn’t allowed, even if you use a cable protector. 

Can you use an extension cord to charge an EV?

If you use an extension lead from your house into the street, it must be suitable for outdoor use. 

You should lay the cable flat across the pavement — never draped from street furniture or trees. 

Remember: create no obstruction. 

Charging your EV in the street with a cable protector

Even the most precisely laid cable will get disturbed by passers-by or the weather. And a cable that doesn't lie flat is a genuine hazard to pavement users. 

So, the best solution is to use a cable protector — a protective, highly visible, non-slip cover that quickly makes pavement-trailing cables safe for the public.

Cable protectors for EV chargers

The FirstMats EV charging cable protector is super-strong and safe — able to withstand the weight of an HGV, with chamfered edges that minimise slips and trips. 

How do you charge your electric car if you live in a block of flats?

Finding a charging point outside your home if you live in an apartment or block of flats can be challenging. 

If you own your flat and have a dedicated parking spot, you can apply to install an EV charging point, with charging point barriers to protect it from damage. Before you commence with installation, you'll need permission from the freeholder or managing agent, including clarity over access rights and a legally binding agreement. 

EV Charger Protection Barrier

If you don’t own your flat or house, speak to your landlord because the government’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) is now helping landlords and renters install charging points with grants and legal assistance. 


I can’t install a charging point outside my property. What now?

Use the public charging infrastructure if you can't install a charging point outside your property. You don't have a petrol pump outside your house, so relying on external sources to fuel our vehicles is nothing new. 

Electric cars being charged

Of course, it takes longer to charge your car than to fill it with liquid fuel, which is the major obstacle. 

However, more and more charging points are appearing at supermarkets, shopping centres, service stations, and car parks. Many employers are installing charging points in office car parks, so there are plenty of opportunities to charge your vehicle while you shop or work. 

Most EVs now have a range of 200 miles+, which means less regular charging than you might think. Obviously, if you commute long distances every day, an EV might not be your first choice. 


Always use a cable protector

Remember, you CAN still charge your EV if you have to park in the street. But take extra precautions to ensure you don’t cause nuisance or danger to the public or yourself. 

A robust cable protector helps maintain the longevity of your charging cables and helps keep pavement users safe. Win-win. 


Find out more about First Mats’ charging cable protectors and charging barriers.

Or get in touch if you have a question! We’d love to hear from you.

Author:

Richard O'Connor's Headshot

Richard O'Connor is a Director at First Mats. He has deep knowledge in areas like Manufacturing, Warehousing, Marine, and Health & Safety. Richard's insights have been featured in well-known publications such as Bloomberg Business, The Sun, and Reader's Digest. His blend of industry expertise and passion for sharing makes him a sought-after voice in his fields.

Contact Richard